Saturday, July 31, 2010

Daily Reminder # 62

(Please scroll down for the Weekly Wordzzle Challenge.)

Love is stronger than hate and truth is stronger than lies. It doesn't always seem that way, but I know that this is ultimately true. Sometimes, it's hard not to get drawn into the ugliness.

We live in strange times here in the US - an in the world as a whole, I guess. Here at home, a whole collection of people spew hate and claim it's patriotism. The latest craziness is so silly you would think it was a joke - except it's not. The GOP in IOWA has apparently got something going called "the thirteenthers." According to these people President Obama's citizenship should be stripped from him because he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize which puts him (and Jimmy Carter and a host of other pretty awesome Americans) in violation of the Thirteenth Amendment - not the current one, which, among other things bans slavery - but the originally drawn 13th which was never ratified.

Then there's Glenn Beck who thinks everyone is a Nazi, who advocates violence (by proclaiming that people need to protect themselves against the violent takeover planned by progressive Democrats). Already someone - fortunately stopped before he took action - has taken Beck up and was set to kill a bunch of people to protect American from Socialism. There's Rush Limbaugh who is such an overt racist and hate monger that he might as well wear a sheet and burn crosses on lawns. There was the recent travesty in which a black woman was intentionally and falsely "outed" as a racist.

Last night I received an email from some woman in Arizona, asking me to join her Sarah Palin to protect the country (by sending them money) from "denegration" (apparently this woman and Palin use the same English mis-usage dictionary) of building a mosque "honoring terrorists" near the Trade Center site. I was in a mood, so I wrote back and told her that I didn't think mosques honored terrorist, who were Muslims in name only, but were places of worship and that building a place of worship on sacred ground seemed to me to be a healing thing. I think I also told her that if she and Ms. Palin stopped spewing hate, we'd be better off and that I thought they were less interested in the good of the country than in power and greed and self-aggrandizement. I'm probably on a hit list now.

But anyway... all this stuff upsets me. I find it ugly and crude and destructive and depressing and... un American. Or at least I hope it's unAmerican. I keep digressing, though. What troubles me is that I believe with my head and heart that hating these people is not the answer, that "you become the thing you hate." But it's SOOOO tempting to be drawn into the ugliness and want to beat it back instead of sending love to it, praying for them. I do think Liberals/Progressives like me need to find a way to respond to these people that's different from what we do now. I think we need to find a way to call them out on their lies and their ugliness without being ugly ourselves. We've got all this "political correctness" and "balance" in media which seems to mean that people get to lie with impunity. It was so wonderful last week when Shirley Sherrod called the people who lied about her out on their lie. It was like balm on a festering wound.

I think we need to speak truth more. When people lie, we need to counter the lies with truth. I don't know exactly how to do it. Ms. Sherrod was wonderful because she never got ugly. She just kept repeating the truth and others came out and backed her up.

I'm kind of rambling around in the desert here looking for water, so I apologize that this isn't a very uplifting reminder. Not ever totally clear what I'm reminding us of.

Some things I'm grateful for today:

  • truth
  • hope
  • wordzzles
  • lovely, cool weather
  • imagination
  • email

I'm outa here...

Have a Wonderful Weekend!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Weekly Wordzzle Challenge: Week 120

It's week 120 of the Weekly Wordzzle Challenge. These words seem to have brought out the darkness in me. Very gloomy stories today of love lost and betrayed. I did manage to get a little optimism and love into my mega at least. Looking forward to what others have come up with.

Words for this week's 10-word challenge were:
sharp, dump truck, charcoal, traffic light, digestive system, argumentative, fireflies, chocolate, volume, options
And for the mini: parameters, shoplifting, adoption, threats, lemonade

My 10-word:

The overloaded dump truck, radio blaring at an ear-splitting volume, ran the traffic light, taking a sharp right turn dripping a trail of charcoal bits in its wake. Outraged, Margaret wanted to pull over and call the police, but her husband was against it. She wasn't normally argumentative, but her digestive system was in knots and her head ache was so severe that she was seeing fireflies behind her eyes. The chocolate cake she had just polished off at the restaurant was not resting comfortably in her stomach and she was feeling overwhelmed with a jumble of emotions. Howard, her husband of 25 years, had taken her to lunch to tell her that he was in love with another woman. Not that she was really surprised. She had known on some level, but now it was real. She couldn't do anything about that, she decided, but she could turn that damned truck driver in. Pulling over, she picked up her phone and called the police. As thought that act had unlocked some power within her, she turned to Howard and said. "I expect you to be out of the house before dinner.... and out of my life for good. My lawyer will call you tomorrow. And I think you should get out of the car now. Find your own way home."

My mini:

"Thank God," Joe thought, sipping a lemonade and chewing on a cookie - that the adoption never went through. It has been shocking enough when Mary had been arrested for shoplifting, but this morning he had learned from the FBI that the parameters of her criminality were so extensive that she was on their list was both shocking and devastating. They had told him he was lucky because she was known as a "black widow" and that the threat to his life was very real. She was suspected of having married and disposed of two other husbands before him. They had shown him very convincing proof of what they were saying. How could he have sensed nothing, he wondered? He had loved her with is whole heart and not just because she was beautiful. He loved her intelligence, her laughter, her wit, never sensing that to her he was a disposable source of income. What was as bad as the shock and the hurt was the fear that he would probably never be able to trust in love again. "At least I'm still alive," he whispered to himself, feeling very much, despite those words, that she had poisoned his heart so that - at this moment anyway - life did not feel much worth living.

My mega:

Sitting at the traffic light waiting for it to turn green, Martin Sharp was surprised at the volume of traffic this late at night. Fireflies Cafe, his favorite haunt, was only a block away and he could feel his digestive system gearing up for the delights to come: pink lemonade, charcoal broiled steak, salad and the option of either baked potato or French fries, followed by coffee and the best chocolate cake in the whole world. He'd would take a few minutes to read glance through the newspaper - probably not the best thing for his digestion - full, as it was with stories about threats to world peace, the adoption of a new anti-gay marriage legislation and, more locally, a plague of shoplifting at the local shopping mall. Best of all, perhaps was the mildly argumentative chit-chat with Amanda, the beautiful (in his eyes, at least) waitress. Pulling his dump truck into parking lot, he was glad to see that it was almost empty. Amanda was free to chat when it wasn't too busy. He was hoping to eventually expand the parameters of their relationship to include dating and maybe even marriage. For tonight, though, he looked forward to a wonderful meal and her beautiful smile.


Words for next week's 10-word challenge are: swiss cheese, operation, frantic, quizzical, control, shallow, wedding, paranoid, orange, marginal

And for the mini: pepper, island, quintuplets, organic, treaty

Thank you for playing! Newcomers can check here for some guidelines (and they are only guidelines, not rules) to make the process more fun.

Enjoy! See you next week!

Don't forget to add
your name to Mr. Linky!

Daily Reminder # 62

Time really does heal many wounds. It puts them in perspective. What we think will kill us in the moment doesn't. Sometimes it makes us stronger or wiser. Sometimes hindsight offers a clearer perspective on the Divine plan. I think I'm going to leave it there and re-post a couple of poems I wrote a year or so ago because I have a political rant bubbling up in me and I think poetry is probably better.

Reflecting on my life,
I wonder about decisions I have made
If I had done this instead of that,
What would it look like now?
Would I be happier
Sadder, wiser
Reflecting on my life
It’s so tempting to second guess
And blame myself for roads not taken
To think, “ah… if only… then…:
As though who I am is not enough
As though the road not taken
Would have been rut free with no detours
Reflecting on my life
I wish I could run, but I’m glad I can walk
I wish I had more
But then I remember how many have so much less
Reflecting on my life
I would be wiser, perhaps
Less prone to sorrow
I would laugh and sing more
Reflecting on my life
The things I most would change
Were not in my hands
The things I most would change
Changed me
Often – not always - for the better
Reflecting on my life
On my best days I am grateful
To love and be loved
To live, breathe, think, dream
And yes – even to reflect.
- Katherine E. Rabenau

Reflected in your loving eyes
I see my own beauty
And I am caught by surprise

- Katherine E. Rabenau

Some things I'm grateful for today:

  • Lemonade
  • Margaret
  • Jon Stewart & the Daily Show
  • a sense of humor
  • mail
  • Angel and Tara Grace
  • the internet

Have a Great Day!
May You See and Be Seen With Loving Eyes!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Daily Reminder # 61

My friend E, for whom the daily reminders were created , is grieving. E is one of the gentlest, tenderest Souls I have ever met or known. We are sisters of a sort, though I think that perhaps in another life I was her mother. I feel very protective of her, though I can't do much to act on that instinct. In any case, E rescues animals. Probably they rescue her too, but that's a story for another day. Animals find her, especially the deeply wounded. They feel her passionate compassion and are drawn to her. I know we don't usually (well I don't) think of passion and compassion in the same space, but E links them and humans and 4-leggeds feel it. They know instinctively that she is a safe place. The trouble is that the deeply wounded don't always have lives that are as long as animals born into loving homes. This is hard for E to bear. One of her rescues died yesterday. A ferral cat named Wookie who had come a long way from where he started. His death was unexpected. E doesn't like death. She takes it personally. So I ask anyone that reads this, to hold her - and because she would ask it - to hold Wookie's spirit - in your hearts.

Like the animals she rescues, E grew up with physical and emotional violence. That she came through her childhood with a sense of humor and such a magnificent capacity for kindness speaks to the resilience of the human Spirit and to the primal goodness of my sister/friend. I wish I knew how to soothe her grief. But that is her journey and she is working through it.

Today is E's sober anniversary. She has not had an easy life and her current situation, even without Wookie's sudden death, is - to put it mildly - difficult. But she is still sober. She is awesome. Happy Sober Birthday, E! (hope I got the date right).

When E wrote to me about Wookie, she said she was mad at God. I decided that maybe I'd share the following very long poem in hopes that somewhere in it, she would find something to help. One of the best things about God is that He/She/It can take pissed off humans in His/Her/It's stride.


Sometimes I am so tired of my journey
So tired of the terror that seems to own me
So tired of looking for the face of the enemy
And seeing only darkness
So tired of shaking and shaking
And gasping for breath
Of feeling like something is out there
Waiting to kill me
Not knowing who or what it is
Tired of having my body go rigid
My mind go numb
So tired of being so alone with it
Of wanting people to understand
Knowing that they can't
Because even I don't understand
Because I am ashamed
And at the same time proud
Of this secret courage
To have lived and loved and strived
With this horror ticking inside me
Ashamed that now it seems to have the upper hand
And I live exiled behind a force-field of power
That no one else can see or feel
Ashamed that I can't draw it's face
And cry, "See! See! There it is! Do you feel it?"
"Now do you understand?"
I am so tired of this war
Of this lonely existence fighting shadows
That are so real despite their lack of substance
That they leave me warn and drawn and lost
I want to give it all to you, God
I hereby do so, except I don't quite know how
But I give you my desire to give it to you
I give you my desire to be free
To live and laugh and let my soul come out to play
I ask your help, God,
Because I don't seem to be getting very far on my own
Or even with your help which I keep asking for
And which I even think I'm getting
But even so, God, I'm so damned tired
And even with all the help I get, I still feel so alone
So I give you also my tiredness and my loneliness
And my hope
I give you the dreams
Which are all locked up inside the cage of my fear
I want my dreams, God
I want to feel a sense of purpose
I want to be alive
I want to slay my fear
To let my rage fly out and strike the source
And not be held inside anymore, eating at me
I want to be able to feel it and let it be ok
Those bastards raped a baby, God,
A little girl who didn't understand
They did such things to me
And still I feel more bewildered than angry, God
Somehow, I still seem to think it was my fault, I guess
I don't know
I don't know why I can't get outside it
And put it's ugliness to rest, my pain to rest
I ask your help, God, because I'm tired
I've been working so hard
And still they won't give me up
Or maybe I won't give them up
I don't know
So I give them up to you, God,
Right here, right now
Please take them, God
Please take from me that which holds on
Because I think that if I let go, I won't exist anymore
Because maybe I think that's all I am
Or maybe because if I keep holding on
I can still pretend that it's not true,
That it didn't happen
I can pretend that my parents took care of me
That they loved me so much they'd have felt my pain
I can pretend I felt wanted and safe
And this is just an aberration,
A nightmare from which I'll soon wake up.
I give you my confusion, too, God.
I give you my illusions about my mother
I give you the needs I learned not to have
The feelings I put to death
I give you my loneliness, God
I give you my needs and wants and desires
And I ask you to give them back to me
To let me have them and live and breathe and feel them
I give you my denial, God
And I ask you to help me face the truth
There's probably more, God, but that's enough for now
I give you my heart, too. I think it's broken
Can you please fix it?
Thank you, God, for listening, if for nothing else.

- Katherine E. Rabenau

Some things I'm grateful for today:

  • my friend E
  • Angel and Tara Grace who came to me through E
  • E's sober birthday
  • my faith that life and death are a continuum
  • water for drinking and bathing
  • Dr. Bronner's liquid soap
  • love - in all its forms

Angel and Tara Grace sent love and purrs to
their Auntie E and wish her
a Happy Sober Anniversary

They wish everyone else (as do I) a wonderful day.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What Connects Your Carrot to the Climate Crisis

(Please scroll down for Daily Reminder # 60)

This is kind of depressing, but really important to think about and share.

The Food and Climate Connection from WhyHunger on Vimeo.

Daily Reminder # 60

Forgiveness is complicated.... and I think it comes in layers.

I've been thinking a lot about what I posted on Sunday, about not needing apologies and letting go of the need to forgive. As I said then, I'm not there. I think maybe I'm half way there, but then I wonder if one can half forgive and count it as done. I find it all very confusing. I think I forgave my brother in some ways. He was horrible, but I have to think he was horrible because he was mentally and spiritually ill. So I know that. I know that in many ways nothing he did matters beyond how much I allow it to matter. But there's the rub. Because however much I may wish to let it all go, the wounds he left are deep and sometimes the scars throb. And when I hurt, my forgiveness doesn't seem quite so real.

I've lost a couple of friends because I couldn't get past the hurt. I don't know if this is because I didn't forgive them or because on some level they weren't really friends. I mean if someone can hurt you and think being right is more important than acknowledging your feelings, are they really your friend? Is it petty to move away from such friendships or is it good self care? For some, the answer to this question may be obvious, but I was raised to forgive EVERYONE and EVERYTHING - even horrible cruelty - except my own feelings. So the truth is, that I get confused when I try to care for myself, when I try to honor my own feelings. I feel guilty and petty.... and like I need to forgive myself for hurting the people who hurt me and for wanting to protect myself from unkindness.

Maybe that's where I get stuck, because while I recognize intellectually, that it's OK for me to have feelings and even negative feelings, on a profoundly deep in-the-bones place, my emotional antibodies still think self-care is a disease that needs to be attacked. So is it my brother and my friends and a few others that I haven't forgiven? Or is it myself for the audacity to feel a need to forgive them in the first place. I don't know. Maybe a little of both.

In any case, I have plenty to work on in therapy, plenty to think about.

Some things I'm grateful for:
  • my computer
  • forgiveness (even partial)
  • vitamins
  • sunshine
  • Shannon's visits
  • photography
  • coupons for the farmer's market


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Daily Reminder # 59 Studded with Rubies

Today's Daily Reminder is short on words - "It's a beautiful world" - and long on photos. LOTS of photos.

The glass on my kitchen door is clean and the back yard has been generous the past couple of days. It's Ruby Tuesday (visit Mary, the Teach at Work of the Poet so you can explore lots of wonderful visions in red from across the world), but I had so many photos that I decided to go with LOT of pictures. There are lots of small reds nestled among the other views.

This little weed growing off my porch looks
more red than it photographs...

Two bunnies visited....
He (I'm guessing) felt a need to chase her in circles...
(I couldn't get a photo, alas)

She (I'm guessing) prayed for relief

Tried to keep a low profile....
But was forced in the end to flee.

all the birds love the berries...

This isn't very good, but I like the idea of catching flight
even if it is blurry...

Scarlet Tanager
all three of these photos are pretty bad
this bird is SO red that it make a cardinal seem drab
but small and far a way and the red I think blurs
the focus it's so bright... and I'm not a good enough
photographer to get it right... so I shared three bad photos
as though quantity would outweigh quality.

I almost never name the birds, but Willie is different
and reminds me of a children's book by that name
about an unusual thrush.... Willie is almost always
in my yard and there's something kind of pathetic
about him which greatly endears him to me.

he was kind enough to visit my porch
for a little while this morning...

How can you not love that face?

Late addition Tuesday morning. I got so involved in picking photos that I forgot my gratitude list!

Some things I'm grateful for today:

  • beautiful weather
  • my back door and visitors to my yard
  • music
  • coffee
  • Schwans
  • the Office for the Aging
  • colors